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"Got Organic?": New Study Finds that Organic Milk is Vastly More Nutritious

Organic_milk Yes, the USDA has been fibbing and it's official: Organic milk is vastly superior to conventional milk. No matter how many times the USDA and the National Dairy Council tell us that there is not a single difference between organic and conventional milk, our taste buds tell a whole different story. Yes, we already knew organic milk tastes much better than conventional, but now we have a scientific explanation for why. Scientists have found that organic milk has such higher levels of nutrients that it’s fairly shocking the dairy industry has been telling us otherwise.

The recent study led by Newcastle University researchers proves that organic farmers who let their cows graze as nature intended are producing far better quality milk. The Nafferton Ecological Farming Group study found that grazing cows on organic farms in the UK produce milk which contains significantly higher beneficial fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins than their conventional ‘high input’ counterparts. During the summer months, one of the beneficial fats in particular – conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA9 – was found to be an impressive 60% higher in organic milk.

In the US, the National Dairy Council falsely tells consumers that, “There is no difference between organic and regular milk. Both contain the same unique package of nutrients that makes dairy products an important part of a healthy diet.” (Emphasis added)

Sure there’s no difference—just like there is no difference between Ferrari’s Enzo and a Geo Metro. Just like there is no difference between the colors of red and blue (I mean, they’re both colors, right?) Just like there is no difference between a Chihuahua and a Pit Bull, just like there is no...Okay, I’ll stop now. My point is, that there is a difference, and it’s a significant one!

‘We have known for some time that what cows are fed has a big influence on milk quality,’ explained Gillian Butler, livestock project manager for the Nafferton Ecological Farming Group at Newcastle University, who led the study. ‘What is different about this research is it clearly shows that on organic farms, letting cows graze naturally, using forage-based diet, is the most important reason for the differences in the composition between organic and conventional milk.

‘We’ve shown that significant seasonal differences exist, with nutritionally desirable fatty acids and antioxidants being highest during the summer, when the cows are eating fresh grass and clover.

The study, which involved Newcastle scientists working with the Danish Institute for Agricultural Science, is part of the ongoing cross-European Quality Low Input Food project into animal health and welfare, milk quality and working towards minimizing the use of antibiotics in dairy production.

‘This paper is a major milestone in the project and clearly shows that if you manage livestock naturally then it’s a win-win situation for both us and them,’ said Professor Carlo Leifert, project co-coordinator.

Gordon Tweddle, of Acorn Dairy in County Durham, is a local supplier of organic milk. ‘We have believed for some time that organic milk is better for us and our customers tell us it tastes better,’ he said. ‘It is satisfying to have the scientific explanation as to why it is also nutritionally better.’

This current research confirms previous studies in the UK, which reported higher concentrations of omega 3 fatty acids in milk from organic production systems than conventional ones.

CLA, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E and carotenoids have all been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. CLA is hugely popular in the US, where it is marketed as a nutritional supplement. However, synthetic supplements often contain compounds with a different chemical composition (isomer balance) than those occurring naturally in milk, resulting in an equal dose of both ‘good’ (i.e. CLA9, omega-3 fatty acid, vitamin E and carotenoids) and ‘less desirable’ fatty acids (i.e. omega-6 fatty acids and CLA10).

‘Switching to organic milk provides an alternative, natural way to increase our intake of nutritionally desirable fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants without increasing our intake of less desirable fatty acids and synthetic forms of vitamin E,’ said Mrs Butler. ‘In organic milk, the omega-3 levels increase but the omega-6 does not, which helps to improve the crucial ratio between the two.’

So here’s the bottom line: The USDA and National Dairy Council are big fat fibbers. Organic milk is better for you. Period. Now I can’t wait for disgruntled conventional dairy farmer to start posting nasty comments. I will respond to them in advance: Shut up and start making me some delicious organic milk.

Posted by Rebecca Sato

*This post is an adaptation of a Newcastle University news release.


This just makes sense, with or without a scientific seal of approval.

If you're going to feed cows unnatural feed and then pump them full of steroids and hormones to artificially force them into producing way more milk than their bodies were designed to, well you're not going to get the most high-quality and nutritious milk.

Thanks for the article!

Yet another reason against GMO's - if 'non-organic' cows produce inferior milk, cows eating GMO's are certainly going to produce poorer quality milk if they're eating artificially-created monoculture crops!

Great article!

Boring source -

I just started buying organic milk. There definitely is a different taste. After drinking conventional milk for 30 years it'll take some getting use to.

Another thing I noticed was the expiration on the milk is way longer. The milk I bought this week expires July 12th. The kind I buy is distributed in a state next to mine so maybe that is why.

I was reading a couple of articles on the benefits of organic milk, including one by USDA.I am curious as to why they claim organic milk to have no nutritional differences of regular milk.

My wife is a big believer in Organic food products. At first I was very skeptical. I also could not bring myself to agree to pay more for organic. However, like many wives, mine is the boss and she buys organic. I am normally lactose intolerant but now since drinking organic milk, it really does not bother me as much. Now sure why.

It has a bitter taste that my husband and I both noticed. He won't drink it now since he thinks it is poisoned or something, but I think it is fine, I just would like to know if this is normal and will take getting used too.

To the very biased author of this article- I am a dairy producer and I do produce conventional milk. However, my farm is a grazing operation- so your comment about all conventional milk is less nutritous is completely false. My cows graze during the spring, summer and fall months and are supplemented with hay and grain in the winter. What do you think organic producers feed their animals in the winter when the grass doesn't grow???

RE: Tani - Cows that are allowed to free-range for their feed eat whatever they like and this affects the taste of the milk. If the cow that produced your milk ate something bitter, that is why your milk tastes bitter.

I have been reading a lot of article about the difference between organic and non organic milk. I have a little girl who will transition from formula to homo milk in about a week. My husband and I have been drinking non organic milk our whole life. There is a huge difference in cost. I’m still not sure if buying organic milk is the best choice. Clearly organic is the healthier choice, Right?

While I agree that organic milk is better, this article appears to be confusing grass-fed cow milk with organic milk. You could have grass-fed cow milk that is not in fact organic and quite nutritious. The difference in the nutritional contents depends on whether the cows were grass-fed or not. It doesn't have much to do whether its organic. This is not to imply that organic milk has no benefits. The difference between organic milk and non-organic milk is the use of synthetic pesticides and possibly the use of synthetic growth hormones on cows. These synthetics increase the risk for cancer. However they don't really have much to do with the nutritional content of the milk.

This study is comparing grass fed milk to grain based milk - not organic to non-organic. Note they do not compare organic grass fed milk to non-organic grass fed milk because the results wouldn't fit into their agenda.

This it to "Jersey Farmer"...

Fair enough, they might not be able to feed them JUST grass in the winter months but I guarantee that they don't pump them full of steroids and artificial stuff.

Go and stroke your mutant cows and keep your ridiculous comments off this article.

tip of the cap Gary for his comment to the Jersey Farmer!! well said! All i will add is the use of attibiotics also!. Us as people always try to out smart mother nature!! we cant! leave her be!!!..its all about the money!! and thats the problem!!

I just switched to organic milk and it tasted
Like a childhood memory of a long lost friend.
It Tastes like milk should. I remember when I
Was a small girl, we would visit my grandparents
On their farm, we drank fresh milk. It tasted very
Close to organic, it has taste. The other stuff..
Junk! No taste. I pay more for it but it's worth
PS. Government only tells us what THEY think we
Want to hear. Me.... I'm a free thinker!

As a rule I usually don't drink milk (can't stand the taste) and if I do it is fat free only. I have recently lost 37 lbs. And was told that I needed to start drinking milk since I am in my early 40's. After buying a couple of half gallons of regular fat free milk and then watching them expire before I could drink it all I decided to look for something else. I found organic milk and decided what could it hurt to try it. Well after the first glass I was totally hooked. The taste is amazing and I don't have to worry about it expiring before I can finish the carton. Now I look forward to drinking a glass of milk every morning!!!!

Replies to several of the comments; The longer shelf life is probably due to being "ultra pasteurized" unfortunately. This also makes it a bit bitter. It doesn't sell as fast so is often ultra pasteurized. Try to find regular as that additional cooking does affect the quality and nutrition.

There are huge differences between brands too. Some are barely better than conventional milk. Organic Valley brand is one of the best producers, Horizon is one of the worst.

Buying organic is also as much about avoiding the crap like antibiotics, GMOs and BGH (bovine growth hormones) as it is about getting better nutrition. So choose organic even if you can't afford the best brands.

I had been drinking organic milk for the past 15 years or so. I thought I would try and save a few bucks and go back to regular milk. What a mistake. For one thing, the milk tastes terrible and I forgot how quick it sours. I ended up drinking a close to sour milk one day in my cereal. My gut paid for it for the next few days. I will never ever buy regular crappy milk again.

Thanks to the organic farmers out there!

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